Digital marketing can be tough language to learn if you’re not familiar with it.

No worries!

Here you’ll uncover some of the more common terms and their meanings.
Take the guess-work out of digital marketing geek speak – learn the lingo now!


In this case, “address” does not mean where you live or work. It refers to the URL or location of a resource on the internet, which when used will direct you to a particular website.


A “Google” term, Adwords are used by Google to drive its “Cost Per Click” (CPC) advertising system.


A mathematical equation that a search engine uses to rank web sites in order of their relevance to a particular search word or phrase. Algorithms are under continuous renovation and adjustment in order that they reflect the ever-changing Internet environment. See Organic Listings.

Alt Tag

An HTML tag used to describe an image. the Alt Tag appears when you roll your mouse over the image on a Web page. Alt Tags are useful when people view pages in text-only mode.

Alt Text

Abbr: Alternative Text. This is a text description provided in place of an image. It maybe seen when an image is loading or when the image display has been disabled for whatever reason (such as a slow internet connection). Alt Text is sometimes incorrectly referred to as an Alt Tag. See Alt Tag.

Anchor Text

The visible hyperlinked text part of a link, Anchor Text is used by search engines as a ranking factor.

Back Link

The inbound link from other websites to the current site. Increasing the number of relevant websites back linking to your site was a popular way to improve your Page Rank. Today, watch out for the dreaded Penguin Penalty who feasts on low-quality links.

Black Listing

A search engine has the right and capability to “black-list” or remove a website from its index. There are several reasons for black listing, including using subversive tactics that search engines consider to be unethical or spam-like.


AKA: Weblog; A personal diary or journal made accessible via the Web. Blogs reflect the personal opinions and personality of the author, and are usually updated daily.

Click Through

The action of clicking on a link from website that leads to a different website.

CTR (Click-Through Rate)

The measure or percentage of the number of visitors who physically clicked on a link in order to arrive at a destination site.

Click Tracking

A means of tracking clicks onto a link that takes a visitor to a specific website. Tracking clicks is an important statistic any advertiser should be able to access, to see how much “traffic” is being generated by their advertisement. Reputable PPC companies track the number of clicks to a particular link, and supply that information to their client/advertiser. Be aware that the number of clicks reported does not necessarily reflect the number of visitors. One visitor could click several times.


This is the practice of changing the page that is displayed depending on the user who asks for the page. It means that a webmaster with ulterior motives can technically deliver different pages to different search engines. It is considered spam by many search engines. While there may be a legitimate reason to cloak pages, it should only be done with site and engine permissions.


Clustering allows search engines to present information (results) in groups or subject folders in order to optimize the search results.

Comment Tag

An HTML tag that is invisible to website visitors, but can be “seen” (read) by search engines to optimize their search.

Conversion Rate

The number or percentage of people who take a desired action – buy, request information, or respond to a command – when visiting a website. If 100 visitors visit a site, and 75 of those respond to a command to buy or request information, your site’s conversion rate is 75%.

CPA (Cost Per Action)

The overall cost of completing an action or task.

CPC (Cost Per Click)

Advertisers pay this price every time a visitor clicks their link.


The process by which a search engine scours the Internet, storing and organizing URL s, web pages, keywords and text into its database. AKA: Robot or Spider

Description Tag

This HTML tag should be created by an SEO copywriter. It provides a general description of what is contained in that particular web page. The description tag is likely the short paragraph you see in the SERPs (search engine results pages).


A manually organized directory that provides categorized listings of websites according to their subject. (think of Yellow Pages Listings).


Since Hummingbird was dropped in as Google’s new engine, Google is able to more accurately understand the meaning of words. For example, it can now understand the meaning of “crash” based on other words on the page. As you and I know, ‘crash’ can mean an auto accident, a stock market dive, or showing up uninvited to a party. Now Google gets it, too.


HyperText Markup Language is a document format language used on the Internet.

IBL / Inbound Link

A hypertext link from a site outside the current website that generates traffic to that page.


The word or phrase that a user keys into the search box. For example, searching for the subject “large dogs” includes the keywords “large” and “dogs”. It is also the word or phrase that a site owner or webmaster uses in his web text in order to be discovered by the person searching for that keyword or phrase.

Keyword Density

The number of keywords expressed as a percentage of indexable text words. Keyword density determines the subject that the site relates to. Best practices tell us not to focus on keyword density.

Keyword Stuffing

An SEO no-no. Keyword stuffing is repetition of keywords or keyphrases within a page. Write for people, not for search engines.

Meta Tag

Meta Tags are HTML codes that describe various aspects of Web page content. Search engines use meta tags to index pages based on relevancy.

Organic Listings (natural)

Web page listings that have not been paid for, and appear in a search engine’s results based on the search engine’s own algorithm. The website owner has not paid for these positions and the paid listings have arrived at their positions naturally or ‘organically’.


A change to Google’s search results ranking algorithm that was first released in February 2011, which aimed to lower the rank of “low-quality sites” or site with “thin content” and return higher-quality sites near the top of the search results.


A Google algorithm update first announced on April 24, 2012 targeting black-hat SEO techniques–primarily unnatural link building in order to artificially increase the ranking of a webpage.


Google’s Pigeon Update is a new algorithm, which rolled out in July 2014, to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results.


A generic term used interchangeably with “Gateway” that refers to a jumping off point or entry website for web users. This includes directories such as Yahoo! and search engines such as Google . These directories are considered to be “general” portals. “Niche” or specialized portals are gateways to a specific subject, such as “” or “,” for web searchers interested in those specific topics.

PPC (Pay per Click)

Most search engines sell premium space (listings) ‘by the click’. These premium listings are guaranteed to come up in the first several results. PPC is considered to be a good investment for the website owner in that each click is likely to be a ‘qualified’ lead, and therefore a good potential buyer.


PageRank is a piece of software that belongs to Google, that ranks the relevance of a web page to the search keywords that have been entered, and gives the web page a ranking from 0 to 10. In other words, it is an interpretive value that denotes the importance of a web page.


This is a text file that is located in a site’s root directory that controls spiders that visit your website, and directs them to ignore certain pages or directories.

ROI (Return on Investment)

This is the measure of the benefit from an investment when compared to the cost of the investment. ROI is usually calculated by dividing net profits after taxes by total assets.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

While it may refer to any combination of SEO, SMM or PPC, it is typically used when describing paid search advertising.

Semantic Search

Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent and the contextual meaning of terms as they appear in the searchable data space, whether on the Web or within a closed system, to generate more relevant results.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

This is the process of transforming or ‘fixing’ a website to achieve higher or optimum rankings in search engine results. SEO improves the chances that a particular website will be discovered by the search engine.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

The search engine page displaying the results of a user’s keyword search.

Spam / Spamming

Spam usually refers to unsolicited bulk mail. However, when used in regard to search engines, it is the process of purposefully manipulating them in order to obtain higher rankings. Search engines have no patience and zero tolerance for such practices. Search engine spam occurs when keywords are used over and over to produce worthless content.


A piece of software that searches independently to gather information from a web page, gathering data as it goes. This action is called spidering or crawling.

Splash Page

Similar to a gateway page, but considered poor form for proper search engine optimization. A splash page is a ‘grandiose’ entry to a given website.

Stop Word

A common word that is ignored by search engines – ‘a’, ‘and’, ‘for’, ‘it’, ‘the’ – words that add nothing to search integrity.

Title Tag

This HTML tag is a short one or two sentence description of a Web page, and is displayed in the upper left hand side of your browser. Your title tag should contain carefully chosen keywords and should follow specific guidelines set forth by the engines. See also Meta Tags .

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

The global address or location of resources on the Internet. It includes the protocol (HTTP), the IP address or domain name, and additional path information (folder/file). For example:

XML (Extensible Markup Language)

Is a meta-language for describing markup languages. It identifies structured information in a document, and defines a specific way to add markup to documents. Most commonly talked about in the SEO world is the XML sitemap, which lists a website’s URLs, priority, update frequency and importance.